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HMD Global launches four new affordable Nokia phones at MWC 2019
HMD Global today used Mobile World Congress as the backdrop to announce four new phones. The devices include three Android handsets and one feature phone. The Nokia 1 Plus, Nokia 3.2, Nokia 4.2, and Nokia 210 are all affordable entries in HMD’s roster.
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Modern phones bearing the Nokia name are made by HMD Global, which is the sole licensee of the brand. Run by a gaggle of ex-Nokia execs, HMD is based in Finland and has manufacturing facilities in Asia. HMD brought the Nokia brand back to life in early 2017 and has been growing steadily since.
These mid-range and entry-level phones may not be as exciting as today’s top flagships, but they fill a necessary role in the worldwide market for mobility. Prices of the Nokia 210, 1 Plus, 3.2, and 4.2 range from 30 euros to 169 euros and each of these devices has a place in the larger picture. Here’s what you need to know about them.
Nokia 1 Plus packs potential
Of the four phones, the Nokia 1 Plus is likely to be the biggest seller and most important to HMD Global. This low-cost smartphone replaces last year’s Nokia 1.
The Nokia 1 Plus makes improvements all around. To start, the phone runs Android 9 Pie Go Edition. This is the lightweight version of Android built expressly for low-cost phones. Not only is the operating system light on its feet, so are many of the included apps. Google worked hard to compress apps such as Search, Gmail, and Maps so they’ll operate well on low-spec’d phones.
HMD redesigned the phone to be durable and tough. The company also made sure color is an important aspect of the design, which is exemplified by the bright red option. The polycarbonate shell has a 3D nano-pattern providing texture and can be swapped on a whim.
HMD increased the size of the display, which now measures 5.45 inches and has FWVGA+ resolution in the 18:9 aspect ratio.
The phone is powered by a quad-core MediaTek MT6739 processor and includes 1GB of memory and 8GB or 16GB of storage. A 2,500mAh battery is embedded in the chassis.
The main camera has an 8-megapixel sensor and the user-facing camera has a 5MP sensor with support for portrait selfies. Other features include an FM radio and Bluetooth 4.2. One variant targets Latin America and includes basic LTE support for AT&T in the U.S. The second variant targets the rest of the world.
HMD says the 1GB version will cost 89 euros and the 2GB version will cost 99 euros, available starting in March.
Nokia 4.2 kicks off a new series
This is a brand new device for HMD Global. The 4.2 is what HMD Global calls an “affordable flagship.” It offers many of the features often found on high-end phones, but does so at a much lower price point.
Few devices in this price range can say they have 2.5D glass on the front and the back. The Nokia 4.2 does. The phone relies on a polycarbonate frame for strength and it is sandwiched between two glass panels.
The screen measures 5.71 inches and has an HD+ display at 18:9 with a teardrop notch at the top. The screen dimension helps keep the overall footprint in check.
HMD opted for a Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 processor. It ships in two configurations: 2GB of memory and 16GB of storage or 3GB of memory and 32GB of storage. A 3,000mAh battery is sealed under the glass.
Another feature uncommon to devices at this price point? Dual rear cameras. The Nokia 4.2 has a 13MP main camera and an accompanying 2MP depth sensor. This allows the phone to take better bokeh photos. Other features include an LED flash, depth of field editor, and color pop.
Rounding out the Nokia 4.2 specs, you’ll find a fingerprint reader on the rear, as well as NFC for Google Pay, an FM radio, Bluetooth 4.2 with aptX, Cat4 LTE, and more. The phone also features a dedicated Google Assistant button that offers multiple modes of operation. There are three SKUs for this phone: one targets Europe, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific; one targets India; and the last targets Latin America and the open market. The open market variant includes basic support for AT&T’s LTE network in the U.S., based on the LTE bands included.
The Nokia 4.2 goes on sale in April for 169 euros.
Nokia 3.2 a modest update
This is a refresh of last year’s Nokia 3.1. The Nokia 3.2 is a large phone with capable, but reserved specs within.
The notification light is the most unique feature. HMD realized that notification lights positioned on the front surface of phones are often hidden. HMD located the blinking light next to the power button on the side of the phone, making it easier for the owner to notice when a new message is waiting.
HMD opted for a polycarbonate shell to form the 3.2’s shape. The company gave the polycarbonate a high-gloss polish and it almost looks like glass. This helps improve the experience of owning the device a great deal.
The screen measures an appealing 6.26 inches across the diagonal. It offers HD+ resolution in the 18:9 aspect ratio. A very small teardrop notch at the top holds the user-facing camera.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 429 processor is a step down from that of the Nokia 4.2, but the 3.2 will also come with either 2GB of memory and 16GB of storage or 3GB of memory and 32GB of storage. A large 4,000mAh battery should provide two full days of battery life, says HMD.
A single 13MP camera is located on back and it is joined by an LED flash. There’s no fingerprint reader front or back. The selfie camera rates 5MP.
Like the Nokia 4.2, the Nokia 3.2 includes a dedicated Google Assistant button. The 3.2 also includes an FM radio, Bluetooth 4.2 with aptX, and Cat4 LTE. There are two SKUs, one targeting Europe, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific, and another targeting India. The Nokia 3.2 doesn’t support U.S. LTE bands.
Pricing for the Nokia 3.2 starts at 129 euros, sales start in April.
Nokia 210 targets mass market
It wouldn’t be right for HMD Global to announce new devices and fail to include a simple feature phone. The Nokia 210 is a throwback candybar-style device with a rock-bottom price point.
The 210 is instantly recognizable as a Nokia device thanks to its classic design. It’s made of rugged plastic and features a standard numeric keypad for punching in numbers and texting via T9.
A 2.4-inch screen takes up a huge chunk of the front. Other specs include a VGA camera, 16MB of storage, and FM radio, and 1,020mAh battery. The 210 is limited to 2G networks.
The 210 runs a proprietary version of Java, according to HMD, and a few apps will be available out of the box. It ships with the Opera Mini browser as well as Facebook and Twitter. Games and a limited amount of other content will be available from Gameloft.
The Nokia 210 will cost just 30 euros when it goes on sale next week.
Now read: Hands-on: HMD Global’s mid-range finds something for everyone